FLIGHT OF FANCY

Flight of Fancy (for my Canadian friends)

(Genesis 19:26)

Last evening as we sat on the balcony
luxuriating in the lush autumn sun,
a flock of Canada geese lifted
off the lakeside, dwarfing us mere mortals.
If they had pooped
we would have been entombed
in white slime, not unlike Lot’s wife
entombed in salt.

Like her, we look back at the past year
which feels like an onslaught of geese poop.
We’ve been children hiding behind our ego forts, desperately heaving giant poop balls
at the “winter of our discontent.”

How we long to hitch a ride
on the backs of Canada geese
and head for their homeland where, of course,
life is greener…
always greener on the other side.

Lest we meet the fate of one who looked back,
we turn
setting out ready to grow
our own green grass.

♡ rita h kowats 10/16/20

Photo Credit: JSTORdaily.org

Solace: Offering And Receiving

In this strange stretch of time, we take turns needing and giving solace. What we receive today we give tomorrow. May spirit guide us to pay attention to others’ need for solace and offer it; that we have the humility to accept solace when it is offered. It’s simple. “Shine your shoes. Fill your refrigerator. Water your plants. Make some soup.” Say thank you. And together we will survive.

Solace Blessing

That’s it.
That’s all this blessing knows how to do:

Shine your shoes.
Fill your refrigerator.
Water your plants.
Make some soup.

All the things
you cannot think
to do yourself
when the world has come apart,
when nothing will be normal again.

Somehow
this blessing knows
precisely what you need,
even before
you know.

It sees what will bring
the deepest solace
for you.
It senses what will offer
the kindest grace.

And so it will step
with such quietness
into the ordinary moments
where the absence
is the deepest.

It will enter
with such tenderness
into the hours where the sorrow
is most keen.

You do not even
have to ask.
Just leave it open—
your door, your heart,
your day
in every aching moment it holds.

See what solace
spills through the gaps
your sorrow has torn.

See what comfort
comes to visit,
holding out its gifts
in each compassionate hand.

Jan Richardson in The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief

Here We Are. Send Us.

John Quinn closes his book of essays, Walking in Wonder with this poem. Poet and mystic John O’Donohue died in 2008 and this stanza was penned by Quinn after the celebration of his life.

Envoi

Sometimes
A voice is sent
To calm our deepest fears

Sometimes
A hearty laugh
Will banish all our tears

Sometimes
Words will wing
Our dreaming ever higher

And sometimes
A mind will set
Our imagining afire

John Quinn

In Walking in Wonder: Eternal Wisdom for a Modern World by John O’Donohue and John Quinn

Here we are.

Send us.

In Memoriam RBG

El Malei Rachamim – God Full of Compassion

God, full of mercy, Who dwells above, give rest on the wings of the Divine Presence, amongst the holy, pure and glorious who shine like the sky, to the soul of Ruth Bader Ginsburg…for whom prayer was offered in the memory of her soul. Therefore, the Merciful One will protect her soul forever, and will merge her soul with eternal life. The Everlasting is her heritage, and she shall rest peacefully at her lying place, and let us say: Amen.

In Memoriam RBG

We fold our splintered spirits
Into the waiting arms
Of the Crescent goddess
And hang on to the last vestiges
Of hope smoldering in the ashes
Of our rancorous discontent.

May our god full of compassion
Grant compassion to
Your abandoned ones
Bereft and beset with despair.
Unleash her holy audacity
In an outpouring of strength
That will pry us from the comfort
Of our grief.

May we rest in peace with her-
Not a “piecemeal peace,”
But a peace
That “comes with work to do…
Comes to sit and brood.”*

Amen

c. Rita H Kowats 09/19/2020

*Gerard Manley Hopkins Peace

OPEN

My pastor, Megan Ramer (seattlemennonite.org) offered this prayer yesterday, and in turn I offer it to you on this day dominated by horrific memories of the 9/11 attack on the United States. Pictures of powerful wildfires and suffocating lowland smoke are a constant reminder of the violent unrest sweeping through many cities; violence fueled by the hot wind of divisive rhetoric spewing from the mouths of those entrusted with the mandate to protect and care for their citizens.

Still. And yet. The image of this lilly, exquisite in it’s vulnerability and exposed to the sun and elements, calls me to remain open to hope. Vulner-able. Accepting the wound and exposing ourselves to the possibility of healing. May the healing you long for be yours today.

Sharing a prayer by Anna McKenzie, from Good Friday People by Sheila Cassidy, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991

And so we must begin to live again,
We of the damaged bodies
And assaulted minds.
Starting from scratch with the rubble of our lives
And picking up the dust
Of dreams once dreamt.
And we stand there, naked in our vulnerability,
Proud of starting over, fighting back
But full of humility
At the awareness of the task.
We, without a future,
Safe, defined, delivered
Now salute you God.
Knowing that nothing is safe,
Secure, inviolable here.
Except you.
And even that eludes our minds at times.
And we hate you
As we love you,
And our anger is as strong as our pain.
Our grief is deep as oceans,
And our need as great as mountains.
So, as we take our first few steps forward
Into the abyss of the future,
We would pray for
Courage to become what we have
Not been before
And accept it,
And bravery to look deep
Within our souls to find
New ways.
We did not want it easy God,
But we did not contemplate
That it would be quite this hard,
This long, this lonely.
So, if we are to be turned inside out,
And upside down,
With even our pockets shaken,
Just to check what’s rattling
And left behind,
We pray that you will keep faith with us,
And we with you.
Hold our hands as we weep,
Giving us strength to continue,
And showing us beacons
Along the way to becoming new.
We are not fighting you God,
Even if it feels like it,
But we need your help and company,
As we struggle on.
Fighting back
And starting over.

Photo Credit: Susan Wehrman

The Spiritual Practice Of Empathic Prayer

I am howling today. It’s a cathartic spiritual practice I sometimes engage in because it gets me deep inside an experience. Often it is the only way to break through to hope…if I’m brave enough to let spirit take me there.

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
Song by Bob Dylan

….I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall….

Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest….

And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

https://genius.com/Bob-dylan-a-hard-rains-a-gonna-fall-lyrics

Photo Credit:

“SoulCards” by Deborah Koff-Chapin. The technique Deborah has created is called “touch drawing.” The cards come in two decks of 60 images and can be used alone or with others as reflection tools. They have enriched my meditation for years and have helped those I companion with. http://www.soulcards.com

Used with permission from the artist

Time Will Wait

The Press of Time

We set the pace.
But this press of time—
take it as a little thing
next to what endures.

All this hurrying
soon will be over.
Only when we tarry
do we touch the holy.

Young ones, don’t waste your courage
racing so fast,
flying so high.

See how all things are at rest—
darkness and morning light,
blossom and book.

Rainer Maria Rilke
Sonnets to Orpheus I, 22

Photo Credit: https://www.ikon-images.com/stock-photo-multitasking-woman-in-hamster-wheel-with-hourglass-body-illustration-image00017049.html

Inebriated With Light

photostudio_1596823903576

This morning when my friend asked for prayers in dealing with negativity I recognized my own need immediately.  I offer a practice and a prayer.

Practice To Release Negative Energy 

 

Once settled in a comfortable position (lying on my back works well for me), ground yourself with breathing.

When focused, begin the ritual of releasing negative energy embedded in your aura, your brain, anywhere in your energy field where it tends to get stuck. Imagine using your hands to unravel and pull out the pieces of negative energy, sending each one down your spine, and into the ground where it can be reconstituted… recycled for the good, if you will. Accompany the release with the words, “Releasing this unwanted negative energy….sending it down to the earth.”

When finished, take the time you need to let welcome, positive energy to settle in.  Follow the ritual with a physical cleansing with water, sage, or incense.

 

A Prayer For These

Times

 

photostudio_1596828234687

 

 

Photo Credit: Cathedral of light | vivid sydney 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We Bless While We Bleed”

john_lewis_photo_courtesy_john_lewis_officejpg

Rep. John Lewis (1940-2020)
Rest with Honor
Rest in Peace

 

America can only be saved by those
Who have the dexterity
To bless while they bleed

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III

 

In Gratitude for Rep. John Lewis

Injustice
Dogged him
Like a slave hound
Tracking and attacking
Trailing trauma in its wake.

Nevertheless
He blessed while he bled.
He blessed while he bled.

He fought the hound
And astonishingly, he forgave.
He always forgave.

c. Rita H Kowats 7-18-2020

Enrich yourself with Rev. Moss’s sermon about blessing while bleeding:

The Cross and the Lynching Tree:
A Requiem for Ahmad Arbery
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l6985UG0Z3k

 

 

Photo Credit: biography.com

 

 

 

 

 

Justice Waits In The Space Between Words

Wall of Words

This poem came from meditation at a time when conditions in our world weighed heavily on me.  LOL!  If only I had known the conditions we endure in this moment!  It feels like the time to revisit the poem.  We seek to tame the current of fear that rushes over imposing boulders springing up in our unconscious. So we flex our intellectual prowess in countless monologues across social media, in offices, living rooms and backyard gatherings.  We seek to blame and fix. In our love for justice we can continue our self-assigned role as “The Great White Fixers,” or we can practice waiting, listening more intentionally for the words of the oppressed.

We must act for justice, AND there is this from James Baldwin:

The root of the black man’s hatred is rage,
and he does not so much hate the white man
as simply as wants them out of his way,
and, more than that,
out of his children’s way.

 

James Baldwin I Am Not Your Negro

 

 

Silence

I hear my rapid thought-fire
Ricochet off your heart,
Creating a wall of words to
Keep me safe.

Wait.
Wait for the space
Between the thoughts
Between the words.

Wait.
Truth lives
In the Space Between

c. Rita H Kowats 7-18-2013